News: Hot flashes, sleep disturbances in breast CA survivors reduced with neural block

July 1, 2008

Neural block reduces hiot flashes in breast cancer survivors.

Performing stellate-ganglion block to interrupt the sympathetic nervous system pathways regulating temperature reduces the frequency of severe hot flashes and sleep disturbances in breast cancer survivors, according to a report published online May 15 in The Lancet Oncology.

Eugene G. Lipov, MD, of Advanced Pain Centers in Hoffman Estates, IL, and colleagues performed fluoroscopic-guided stellate-ganglion block at the anterolateral aspect of the C6 vertebra on the right side in 13 survivors of breast cancer (in remission) experiencing severe hot flashes and sleep dysfunction. Patients recorded hot flashes and night awakenings in a daily diary 1 week prior to the procedure and then weekly after the procedure for 12 weeks.

No adverse events were reported from the procedure, the researchers report. Mean number of hot flashes decreased from 79.4 per week at baseline to 49.9 per week during the 2 weeks after the procedure and continued to decline over time, reaching a plateau at 8.1 per week. Mean night awakenings also decreased from 19.5 per week at baseline and stabilized at 1.4 per week.

Lipov EG, Joshi JR, Sanders S, et al. Effects of stellate-ganglion block on hot flushes and night awakenings in survivors of breast cancer: a pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2008;9:523-532 doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70131-1.